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7 Ways to Say Hi in Chinese [Formal & Informal]

Do you want to say hi in Chinese? In a world that is becoming increasingly globalized, learning how to say “Hi” in different languages can be a valuable skill. Chinese is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, with over 1 billion native speakers. Whether you are planning a trip to China or simply want to impress your Chinese friends, knowing how to greet someone in their native language is a great way to show respect and build connections. In this article, we will explore the different ways to say Hi in Chinese and learn about some cultural nuances that come with these greetings.

How to Say Hi in Chinese?

Part 1: 7 Ways to Say Hi in Chinese

When it comes to greeting someone in Chinese, there are several options to choose from. The most common way is to say “nǐ hǎo” (你好), which translates to “hello” or “hi.” However, depending on the context and the relationship between you and the person you are greeting, there are other phrases that can be used. Let’s take a look at seven different ways to say hi in Chinese.

  1. Nǐ hǎo (你好) – This is the most basic and commonly used greeting, appropriate for any occasion or relationship.
  2. Hāi (嗨) – A more informal way of saying hi, similar to “hey” in English.
  3. Wèi (喂) – This is a common phone greeting, which can also be used in person. It is often translated to “hello” or “hey.”
  4. Nín hǎo (您好) – A more formal version of nǐ hǎo, used when addressing someone of higher status or age.
  5. Nǐ shì nǎ guó rén? (你是哪国人?) – This phrase translates to “where are you from?” and is often used as a way to break the ice when meeting someone new.
  6. Hěn gāoxìng rènshí nǐ (很高兴认识你) – This is a polite way of saying “nice to meet you,” typically used when meeting someone for the first time.
  7. Zǎo ān (早安)/Wǎn ān (晚安) – These phrases mean “good morning” and “good evening” respectively, and are typically used as greetings at the beginning and end of the day.

Part 2: How to say Hi in Chinese Informal?

7 Ways to Say Hi in Chinese [Formal & Informal] - WuKong Blog

When learning a new language, it’s important to not only know the formal ways of greeting others, but also the informal ones. In Chinese, there are multiple ways to say hi informally depending on your relationship with the person you are speaking to. One common way is by simply saying “hāi” (嗨), which is similar to “hey” in English. This is a casual and friendly way to greet someone, and can be used with friends, family or colleagues of the same age. Another informal greeting is “wèi” (喂), which is commonly used when answering the phone but can also be used in person. It is often translated as “hello” or “hey,” but has a more laid-back and informal tone. By familiarizing yourself with these informal greetings, you can connect with Chinese speakers on a more personal level and show your understanding of the language’s nuances.  So, it’s always helpful to learn some informal ways to say hi in Chinese to make a good impression and build relationships with native speakers.

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Part 3: Hi in Mandarin Chinese?

As mentioned earlier, the most common way to say hi in Mandarin Chinese is “nǐ hǎo” (你好). This is a simple and versatile greeting that can be used in any situation. However, there are other ways to say hi in Chinese that may vary based on regional dialects and cultural customs. For example, in some parts of China, people may say “nǐ hǎo ma?” (你好吗?) as a casual way of asking “how are you?”. In formal settings or when addressing someone of higher status, the phrase “nín hǎo” (您好) is more appropriate. Additionally, some Chinese greetings may have different meanings or implications depending on the context, so it’s important to be mindful of cultural nuances when using them.

Part 4: How do you Write Hi in Chinese?

Writing “hi” in Chinese can be done in a few different ways, depending on the formality and context of the situation. The most common way is to use the characters 你好 (nǐ hǎo). However, if you are writing in a more informal setting or addressing someone of similar age or status, you can also use the character 嗨 (hāi). When writing in a more formal context or addressing someone of higher status, it’s best to use the characters 您好 (nín hǎo) instead. Learning how to write hi in Chinese will not only help you communicate effectively through written messages, but it also shows respect and understanding of the language’s culture and customs.

Part 5: How to Pronounce Hi in Chinese?

Pronouncing “hi” in Chinese may seem daunting at first, but with practice and proper instruction, it can become second nature. The word for hi in Chinese is pronounced as “nǐ hǎo” (你好). The first syllable “nǐ” uses a rising tone, while the second syllable “hǎo” uses a falling tone. It’s important to pay attention to the tones in Chinese as they can completely change the meaning of a word. For example, saying “nǐ hào” (你好) with a rising tone on both syllables could mean “are you good?” instead of just a simple greeting. So, it’s crucial to listen carefully and practice the correct pronunciation when learning how to say hi in Chinese.

Part 6: How to Say Hi in Chinese Cantonese

Cantonese is a dialect of Chinese spoken in southern China, specifically in the provinces of Guangdong and Hong Kong. While it shares a similar writing system with Mandarin Chinese, the pronunciation and tones are quite different. In Cantonese, the most common way to say hi is “néih hóu” (你好) which uses different tones than its Mandarin counterpart.

Depending on the context and relationship with the person you are greeting, you can also use other phrases such as “hāi” (嗨) or “wèi” (喂) which have similar meanings in both Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese. It’s always beneficial to familiarize yourself with different dialects when learning a new language so that you can adapt to different regions and communicate effectively with native speakers. With these greetings in Cantonese, you can confidently say hi to Cantonese speakers and make new connections.

Part 7: Hi How Are You in Mandarin Chinese

To ask “hi how are you” in Mandarin Chinese, you can say “nǐ hǎo ma?” (你好吗?). This is a more informal greeting and translates to “are you good?” or “how are you?”. If you want to be more formal, you can use the phrase “nín hǎo ma?” (您好吗?) which translates to “are you well?”. When responding, you can say “wǒ hěn hǎo xièxie” (我很好,谢谢), meaning “I’m very well, thank you.” Other common responses could include “bù cuò” (不错) which means “not bad” or “hǎo yùn” (好运) which translates to “good luck.” By using these phrases, you can not only greet someone but also engage in simple conversations and show your interest in their well-being.

Part 8: FAQs

Is “nǐ hǎo” the Only Way to Say Hi In Chinese?

No, “nǐ hǎo” is not the only way to say hi in Chinese. Other common greetings include “你好吗?” (nǐ hǎo ma – How are you?), “您好” (nín hǎo – a polite form of “hello”), or more casually, “嗨” (hāi) or “哈喽” (hā lóu). The choice of greeting depends on the formality of the situation and the relationship between speakers.

Can I Use Informal Ways Of Saying Hi With Someone Older Or Of Higher Status?

Using informal ways of saying hi with someone older or of higher status in Chinese may be considered disrespectful. It’s advisable to use more formal greetings like “您好” (nín hǎo) to show respect. However, in some close relationships, using slightly informal greetings might be acceptable, but it’s essential to gauge the situation and context appropriately.


The above introduces 7 ways to say hi in Chinese. In Chinese, the most common way to say hi is “nǐ hǎo” (你好). However, there are also other informal ways such as “hāi” (嗨) and “wèi” (喂), as well as formal versions like “nín hǎo” (您好) and regional dialects. It’s important to be aware of cultural nuances when using these greetings, as well as the correct pronunciation and writing methods. Additionally, learning informal ways of saying hi can help build personal connections with native speakers.  So, mastering different ways of saying hi in Chinese is essential for effective communication and building relationships in both formal and informal settings.

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